Together on the Path to Opportunity

Securing Alaska’s future | Preserving the Alaskan way of life

What is the Ambler Access Project?

The Ambler Access Project (AAP) is a proposed 211-mile, controlled industrial access road that would provide access to the Ambler Mining District in northwestern Alaska. The area currently lacks the transportation infrastructure necessary for the development, construction, and operations of potential mines in the district. The Ambler Mining District is a large prospective copper-zinc mineral belt with extensive deposits of critical minerals and other elements making this a secure, reliable US supply-chain resource essential for our nation’s tech-focused economy, green energy products, and military effectiveness. Developing the mines within the district is expected to provide employment opportunities for more than 3,000 total jobs during construction and an estimated 1,800 total jobs supporting Alaskan families during operation of the road and associated mines.

Current Status

Spring 2022 | The Ambler Access Project is entering the Design Phase following seven years of an extensive federal permitting process. Currently, preparations are underway for the 2022 field season, which will span from roughly mid-April through mid-October. You can learn more about job openings for the 2022 field season on our Employment page.

2022 Summer Field Season Planned Activities

  • Cultural Resources: Continue surveying for cultural artifacts in prioritized areas. Cultural survey field crews include tribal liaisons and observers to conduct pedestrian surveys, testing, and documentation of identified cultural resources. During the 2021 Field Season, 39 of the 59 cultural resource study areas, and 691 acres were surveyed.
  • Geotechnical Investigations: Conduct borings at 45 river crossings, 11 material sites, and 10 roadway sites to study subsurface conditions and general soil characteristics along the alignment (i.e., the proposed route of the road) and assess viability of material sites. 
  • Hydraulics and Hydrology Investigations: Assess conditions for area drainage, culvert placement, and bridge design; conduct spring breakup monitoring at 26 rivers; establish stream gauges at bridge sites.
  • Land Surveys: Establish land ownership boundaries, bodies of water, and major design features; survey Northwest Arctic Borough boundary; survey alignment over 4 months for land ownership and project features.
  • Roadway Design: Establish project design criteria and advance preliminary engineering to 35% design.
  • Fish Habitat Studies: The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will continue field efforts to collect fish habitat, water quality, species presence, or critical spawning area data, focusing on mid-alignment at 57 locations.
  • Wetland Investigations: Conduct field evaluation of the eastern 50 miles of the alignment; survey for wetlands and waters of the U.S.; evaluate invasive species and sensitive plant species, if found.
  • Stakeholder Outreach: Continue collaboration with tribes and communities near the project, including additional meetings with the Subsistence Advisory Committee and Workforce Development Working Group. More information about upcoming meetings and events can be found on our Community Engagement page.

Nearly 50 local jobs, from tribal liaisons and bear guards to surveyors and environmental scientists, have been identified for the 2022 field season. These positions are in addition to the more than 42 Alaska prime and subcontractor companies that will continue with logistics, geotechnical, design, and other field season tasks. To ensure reasonable and equitable contracting opportunities were available, the AAP procurement team incorporated a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program to encourage minority Alaskan owned companies to bid. Currently, MBE entities represent 30 percent of existing AAP contracts.

Next Steps

In 2022, a Design Study Report will be developed based on the project’s 35% design. At each stage of the design process, project developers will continue to seek feedback from stakeholders and community members.

Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project Area Map

Did You Know?

The Ambler Access Project is a private controlled industrial access road and is not for public use.

Learn More 

Community Support

“…continued responsible resource extraction is essential to the future of the North­west Arctic Borough and its provision of public services to the region’s residents.”

-Northwest Arctic Borough Assembly Resolution in Support of the AAP

“Hughes has been in support of Ambler Road since we started meeting in 2010. Our Elder at that time wanted jobs for our Tribal members so people will not move to the cities, to try to stop outmigration. We’ve been strug­gling to keep our school open for years. The student count needs to be ten kids. If we go under ten kids, our school will close. Parents with children will move. We need year-round jobs for our Tribal members. I know the Ambler Road and Ambler Mining District will provide that for years to come. Thank you.”

-Wilmer Beetus, 1st Chief of the Village of Hughes, Population 90

“The operation of the Red Dog Mine has brought huge benefits to the NANA region and to the Northwest Arctic Borough. It would be a good thing to show those from the Doyon region how a mine can be operated in a safe and environmentally sound manner.”

-Fred Sun, Shungnak Tribal Council President

View more letters and Resolutions of support on our Community Engagement page.

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